Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pink Polka Dot Studio

When I saw the roll of pink polka dot gift wrapping paper while out shopping, I thought it would be just the thing to give my ebay/etsy photos a little extra pizazz! I just taped it to the back of the door, where I usually do my pictures, and I love the look it gives to my pics.

I've been photographing more items from the estate of a family friend's mother (the source of the 1960s dresses I listed the other day) - I have dozens and dozens of 60s nylon slips and nighties (sneaky peek below), some adorable 40s camiknickers, 50s/60s sweaters, dozens of aprons including the cutest novelty prints, and several skirts too!

I actually started the day in a different outfit, but when I put on this cute little wool cardigan to do some pics I loved it so much it's staying with me.

Sweater, Estate; Sheer swiss dot blouse, Charity shop; Favourite Pencil Skirt, M&S.

(I'll photoshop out the doorhandle later!)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Retro Swimwear

I need a new swimsuit - I much prefer to wear a one-piece at the gym - sooo... I've been looking for the perfect pin-up swimsuit!

Above, swimsuits from For Luna (clockwise): Black retro bikini; Retro cherry bikini; Ruched leopard swimsuit; Retro red swim dress

Below, swimsuits from Pinup Couture (clockwise): Pink Marilyn swimsuit;Nautical swimsuit; Leopard print 3pc bikini; Cherry swimsuit

Monday, March 29, 2010

1941 Knitting Pattern Giveaway

I don't knit, but because I felt this knitting pattern was just too adorable to simply languish in my magazine pile I decided to type it up and offer it as a freebie to anyone who wants it. It's in Word format (alternatively I can convert it to rich text or plain text), and if you would like a copy just drop me an email or post below with your email address and I'll send it on over.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

On going all the way

(still trying to crack those victory rolls...) What this outfit really needs is a nice chunky red bakelite bangle. Don't you think?

What are your thoughts on "going all the way" with the vintage look? I really admire those who dress head to toe in vintage every day, and I really wish I could have a 100% vintage wardrobe, but to be honest it would be really hard. For a start it would involve replacing half my staples, and what's the point in getting rid of perfectly nice clothes? Plus it would be expensive to replace all my non-vintage pieces. So I'm quite content to dress sometimes in more of a "vintage inspired" style, though I usually try to incorporate at least one actual vintage piece (sometimes no more than a brooch).

Plus, you know, one of the great joys of "dressing vintage" is being able to mix and match styles and decades for a modern look that's truly unique, not having to look like we've actually just stepped out of a time warp. I guess for me it's as much about an outlet for my creativity in developing my personal style from vintage inspiration, rather than wholesale copying fashions of the past (which, in my oh-so-humble opinion, can get rather stale).

Rose printed cardigan, Tesco; Pencil skirt, M&S; Belt, purchased in Thailand; Shoes, Yoma.

An imposter jumped into my picture!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kinky Boots and Beehives

I've got a whole bunch of 1960s mod minidresses (almost all in shades of blue, turquoise and green!) from the estate of a lady from the Welsh valleys who seems to have kept everything - so much fun! the 60s dresses are going into my ebay shop, and I've a few earlier pieces - a 1940s tea dress and some adorable camiknickers - which will go into Tuppence Ha'Penny on Etsy.

I feel like I haven't posted anything much recently except store updates, but it's mostly because I haven't done anything except work and watch TV! But I'm planning a series of posts on Women in the War, starting with a profile of gun factory worker Ruby Loftus, who was the subject of a famous painting by Dame Laura Knight. So stay tuned...

Thursday, March 25, 2010


It's been raining and grey and dull for days (except for a brief period of sunshine this afternoon), which isn't helping me recover from my killer cold. Mostly I've been camped in the sitting room watching back-to-back episodes of season 2 of Prison Break on-demand.

1940s (feedsack?) skirt, ebay; Swiss dot sheer blouse, charity shop; Crinoline petticoat, Entirely Apropos; 30s hat, ebay; Cardigan, as usual.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New to my Etsy shop - Stockings!

I've just added a whole lot of vintage fully fashioned nylons to my Etsy Shop. Discounts available for multiple quantities - just convo me.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How hard can it be?

I've been searching high and low for a red cardigan. In fact it doesn't even have to be red - I'd be delighted with aqua, navy or pink too - I'm just looking for a way to add a layer and an extra splash of colour to my outfits. Ideally I want cashmere, but I'm willing to compromise. Crucially, it needs to come to the waist or just below (just below). But can I find such a thing? On etsy, or ebay, or Chichester high street? Can I heck! It's most upsetting.

1940s Shoes

Some vintage shoe adverts...

From Illustrated, 1944

From Picture Post, 1947

From Picture Post, 1949

I've so many more shoe adverts to scan, but these will do for the moment. I'm constantly on the lookout for a pair of fabulous 40s shoes for myself (on my wishlist!). Found some lovely 1940s-esque peep-toe shoes in M&S the other day, but they're just the wrong shape for my feet, sadly.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Feeling the love!

Well my goodness me but I've won another award! Fabulous Emmi considers me worthy of calling a Sugar Doll. Which means I've got to come up with another five random facts about me that you don't already know. Let's see...
  1. My guilty secret is I really quite like trashy pop music - give me a bit of Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne and miscellaneous other pop princesses.
  2. I wish I would sew my own clothes, but to be honest I'm just too darn lazy. But I really wish I wasn't.
  3. I covet Solanah's style. And wardrobe. (Okay possibly you already knew that)
  4. I'm hopelessly untidy, to Matin's eternal chagrin. Mess just somehow materialises around me, I don't know how it happens!
  5. I'm a keen amateur photographer - some of my photos are scattered around this blog, and others are on Trekearth.
And to share the love, I'm passing this on to Yesterday Girl cos she's an English Queen of Vintage, Miss Matilda for her enviable shoe collection, and The Antique Pearl for her interesting little "thoughts" posts.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Novelty Prints

I'm sitting here in bed with a killer cold, surrounded by tissues and feeling sorry for myself, so I'm indulging in a spot of shopping (mostly window shopping), and cheering myself up with fabulous novelty prints! If these were my size and/or affordable, they would be in my basket by now:

Top: 1940s Love Letters Hostess Gown, 1950s Indian Weathervane Day Dress, Little Birds 2-piece Outfit
Middle: 1960s Fruit and Flowers Shirtwaister Dress, 1940s Roses and Wagon Wheels Dress, 1940s Time Flies Hostess Gown
Bottom: 1940s Bouquets New Look 2-piece Outfit, 1950s Parisienne Three Piece Outfit, 1940s Capri Dress

Others worth checking out: 1950s Grapes & Rhinestones Day Dress, 1960s Umbrellas Shift Dress, 1940s/50s Sheep Silk Party Dress.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Two for Joy

Daddy and I attended the Goodwood Press Day. It was mainly about the upcoming Festival of Speed, but I was more interested in Goodwood's new event, Vintage at Goodwood. I picked up a press release about it and it looks like it's going to be amazing! It's aiming to offer something completely different from the usual summer music festivals, combined with a love of fashion and culture through the 20th century, spinning-off from the immensely successful Goodwood Revival. At Vintage they're going to have all different retro music venues, from a reconstructed 1940s nightclub to an 80s roller disco! Plus a "Vintage High Street, with the attention to detail of a film set", featuring high street shops (including a reconstruction of Oxfam's first shop from 1947), salons, and a vintage marketplace. And then restaurants inspired by various decades. Oh I can't wait!!

Goodwood House, with the same vintage Fiat Multipla I posed with at Revival last year.

Victory rolls again - after a fashion. I'm steadily improving. My advice for anyone wanting to try them out is this: you cannot underestimate the importance of hairspray.

Red & black and red & navy are my wardrobe staples, no doubt about it - they're just so easy to wear. On reflection I could do with more red and less black; I should have worn red shoes (except I don't have any - I did buy a super cute pair of 40s red heels on etsy, but sadly they're too small) and lighter or no tights. But there you are. (look out for a new and improved version of this outfit coming someday!). I love the red peplum top - check out the bow belt! It's actually part of a suit - yes, there's a matching scarlet skirt to go with it - and dates from the late 70s or early 80s, judging by the label. The satin pencil skirt is by Coast, and came as part of the consignment of stuff from my housemate's friend - I was so happy when I pulled it out, since I love my first Coast satin pencil skirt so much I've been searching for a second one!

Incidentally, the reason for my title is that we saw two magpies on the way there, which always makes me think of the nursery rhyme,

One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a girl
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret never to be told

(I've never seen six for gold)

Also, the hospitality tent at the mini rally event was giving out bacon sarnies and danish pastries, which I'd merrily downed before remembering my diet, so we'll gloss over the diet plan for today.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New and Coming Soon...

I've been photographing some of the items I got from my housemate's friend, and some things from my own wardrobe that I'm ready to pass on. Clockwise from top left: Alice dress; Green plaid rayon 1940s dress; 40s style plaid flannel dress; 60s/70s Bird print mini dress; 60s Swirl wrap dress; 1960s Mod daisy mini dress.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The 1953 Diet - Day 3

Okay, so I may have slightly deviated from the menu plan today. Well when I say slightly... I mean I totally caved and had a slice of toast loaded with Nutella. I'm soooo rubbish at dieting! But in my defence I have managed to stick to my other resolution, of doing 20 minutes at the gym every morning. Three mornings - so far so good. Plus the usual boxercise/circuits on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. So it's not all bad!

A Very Blustery Day

Just a silly shot from my ebay photoshoot yesterday! The dress - very Alice in Wonderland, don't you think? - will be going on ebay this week.

Ooh, an award!

Well how about that - I got an award! Sweetie Brittany of Va-Voom Vintage deemed me worthy of the Beautiful Blogger Award. I feel so appreciated - I love the vintage blogging community! And to share the love, I'm going to pass on this award to Denise Brain and 50s Times as they're both recent and fabulous additions to my blogroll.

Award Rules:
  1. Thank and link the person who gave you the award
  2. Pass this award onto bloggers you recently discovered and think deserve this award
  3. Contact said blogs and let them know they've won
  4. State seven facts about yourself.
So, seven facts about moi that you didn't already know...
  1. I love languages. I can speak four - English, French, German and Thai - with varying degrees of fluency, and I know snippets of various others including Spanish, Tagalog, Farsi and Khmer. I really want to learn Latin.
  2. I did three solo skydives in the space of a week, while I was at university.
  3. I've always had a fascination with the past - from dressing myself (and my room!) in Victorian styles when I was 12 to spending evenings watching WW2 documentaries on the Discovery Channel with Daddy to the ever-changing wonders of Mummy's attic (aka the chamber of secrets).
  4. This time last year I was on a beach in the Philippines, preparing for my onward journey to Japan for cherry blossom season. This time two years ago I was in India. I adore travelling, and I can't get enough of it. I spent a little over two years living in Thailand (I've been back in England since last June).
  5. My favourite TV shows are Poirot, Miss Marple, Foyle's War, Red Dwarf, The Big Bang Theory, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, QI (I have an insatiable appetite for random facts and Stephen Fry - I met him once you know; he came to our university for "an evening with") and Hustle.
  6. I love waterfalls.
  7. I have a massive sweet tooth, so this diet I'm on is really quite hard.
Phew, those took a long time to think up!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Secret Life of Mrs. Beeton

Watching The Secret Life of Mrs. Beeton - frills and bows and extravagant hats galore! And a lovely portrait of a woman who refused to be constrained by the societal norms of her time.

Spring in my step

Isn't it wonderful to wake up to bright blue sky and sunshine? I'm so happy that spring is coming. I live for warm weather so summer is really my favourite season, but spring is such an exciting time of year - as nature buds and shoots and blossoms and blooms, bringing promises of brighter mornings and warm sunshiney afternoons - that it comes a close second. Must try not to get too overexcited though - I love summer clothes so I do have a tendency to completely underdress for the season.

In other news, I'm quite proud of my victory rolls - these still took about 45 frustrating attempts, but I think they came right in the end (and several hours later they're still intact - mostly thanks to copious amounts of hairspray). Will keep persevering - practice makes perfect, eh...

Ooh also, new lipstick! I do love bright red, but I thought this delicate coral is a bit more practical for day wear.

Polka dot cardigan (the same one I wore on Saturday), M&S; Tulle rosette brooch, gift from my sister; Wool skirt, Hobbs.

The 1953 Diet - Day 1

Okay, so in order to achieve my 1940 perfect statistics and - most importantly - make it easier to find vintage clothes to fit, I need to lose about two and a half inches, give or take. Which shouldn't be unachievable (how many lb equals an inch? It's only one dress size, anyway). I found this diet menu plan in a 1953 magazine, which I hope will make a good kick start my inch-loss. And to encourage me to stick to a diet of any kind I'm making it into a blog project.

So far so good! I didn't eat my egg for breakfast, so I had it for lunch. And now I'm going to have my 1/2 grapefruit as an afternoon snack!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dress Project

Perhaps I should start actually working on some projects instead of just coming up with new ones...

Last night I got a consignment of vintage clothes belonging to a friend of my housemate, to sell on commission. Some of her stuff is just sooo fabulous, but sadly it's all too small for me! I completely fell in love with two dresses in particular and I've been playing around with ways of making them fit (losing a couple of inches - more on that tomorrow - will also help).

The first is this 50s sundress with the most adorable novelty coathanger print. The main problem is that basically it doesn't zip up, so I'm thinking of just finding a way of working with the resulting deep-V back (I tried it on again since sketching the above ideas, and the V doesn't have to be quite so deep as I drew it - it'll stop a couple of inches above the waist). I thought initially of just making a triangular insert to fill in the V, and using matching fabric to make a sailor collar (a V-neck is much better on me than a high neckline, plus it would add an extra inch or so of room in the front) and perhaps a patch pocket on the front... Then I thought about maybe keeping the open V back, but adding a bow across the back where the bra band sits.

I dunno - thoughts??

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Beside the Seaside... in the Winter!

We're very lucky to live on the south coast - we get the most average sunshine days in the country, and it's so nice being a short drive from seaside towns like Brighton and the soft sandy beach of West Wittering. I'm so looking forward to spending summer days there in a few months. Check out the beach huts! In the meantime we braved the chilling sea breeze for a walk along the sands. I love this dress - it was bargain of the year from the sale rail in a vintage shop in Brighton (can't remember the name). And my solo victory roll (solo both in the sense that I did it myself, and in the sense of only one - Matin liked the way that the one roll looked!) held up pretty well.

40s/50s dress, Brighton; Polka dot cardigan, M&S ages ago; 50s petticoat, charity shop; 30s celluloid brooch, gift from Mother.

Friday, March 12, 2010


I need to curb my shopping habit. So, I've decided I need to make a wishlist of specific things I really really want in my life, so rather than just buying everything I see in my size, the plan is that I will optimise my wardrobe (see 1949 Capsule Wardrobe), and concentrate my expenditure on buying only the best and most useful pieces. Although, one can never have too many 1940s day dresses...

My Wishlist (in no particular order):
  • The Perfect 1940s Suit. It's not easy finding a 40s fitted suit in B38/w28 - but easier than finding a modern suit jacket that fits without bunching at the waist in the back! I may have just received the Almost-perfect suit in the mail, but beige is sooo not my colour, so I'm going to try and dye it navy.
  • 1930s Sweater. I just want one.
  • The Perfect Red Cardigan. So many times, I find myself thinking that just what this outfit needs is a red cardigan!
  • Bakelite Jewellery. Every self-respecting vintage gal ought to have at least one piece of bakelite jewellery - I'd love just a simple bangle, or a cute brooch.
  • The Perfect 1940s Shoes. Although I'm very happy with vintage style shoes, I would love to own just one pair of original vintage 40s fabulous shoes. (Actually I'm in the process of collating shoe adverts from my vintage magazine collection, for a post on 1940s-50s shoes).
  • Red Fitted Blazer. Or even better, a red and white candy-stripe fitted blazer. Just because!
  • Sailor Uniform. After seeing Solanah's sailor jacket I wanna make me one of those!
  • The Perfect 40s A-line skirt. Also, the Perfect 50s Pencil Skirt.
  • Some simple little cocktail hats for when I don't feel like wearing a full hat.
  • 40s/50s Novelty Print Blouse. How can my wardrobe possibly be considered complete without one?
  • The Perfect 1950s Wiggle Dress.
  • Retro Swimsuit - probably a repro one from For Luna. Would LOVE an amazing 1940s/50s top-and-shorts sun suit too, but it's not exactly a priority.
  • 1930s Day Dress. Just because I'd really like a 1930s day dress in my wardrobe.
  • What Katie Did Corset.
I don't ask for much...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Flowers

Sunshine for our last morning in Wales.

Polka dot shirt dress, Primark via Ebay; Sweater, Totnes Saturday market; 1930s Poppy corsage, Agincourt House Antiques Monmouth; Tights and shoes, M&S; Lovebirds necklace, gift from Matin.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hats and Hatboxes

Visiting Mother for the week, so lots of touring charity shops, antique emporia and vintage stores around the area... Monmouth yesterday, got a couple of things for my shop, plus a huge 1930s poppy corsage. Leominster today, bought this fabulous 30s hatbox and three hats (including another cherry hat for my expanding collection!), and a super 30s cotton swimsuit... it's been a bit of a 1930s week, all in all.

Monday, March 8, 2010

New in my shops!

I listed the rest of the items from my last update (including the purple peplum dress, which just for a change is going out to bids on ebay - it's too new for etsy), and also (clockwise from top left): 1940s-50s drop waist cocktail dress; 1970s Bellville Sassoon silk blouse; 1960s zip-front scooter dress; 1950s black velvet bolero jacket; 1970s-look rockabilly halter dress; 1980s huge bow fishtail tuxedo jacket. Check my Etsy store or Ebay shop.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

All Done Up (1941)

Adorable ideas for alternatives to buttons - I just love the idea of cherry fastenings on a cute rayon blouse.

Scanned from Woman's Sphere, March 1941

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Singin' in the Rain?

So this is my first solo attempt at victory rolls - it didn't go too badly (mostly because they were still semi-in-shape from the salon), to go with my adorable 1930s/40s playdress with whimsical umbrella-embroidered bodice.

Umbrella dress, The Poubelle Twins; Pink polka dot umbrella, from Thailand; Flower corsage, H&M.

Friday, March 5, 2010

1940s Hair!

After browsing the wonderful vintage clothes in the vintage & antique shops in Church Street and Alfie's Antique Market (at equally fantastic prices!) I made my way up the stairs to Nina's Parlour and was greeted by Leila. We'd already discussed the look I was after on the phone (and I'd warned her how thick my hair is!), so she already had an idea of what she was going to do. She layered my hair around the front in the style of the 1940s. My hair was sooo long - fully six inches came off in places! She was worried I was going to be concerned to see so much come off, but I was super excited that my hair was going to be so much lighter (elbow-length, thick hair weighs an absolute ton - you can't imagine!), and easier to style. Then she showed me where to part it for the victory rolls, then how to use curling tongs (v time consuming) and flexible hot sticks (which I'm definitely going to get a set of!). And then we learned how to do victory rolls! It's definitely going to take some practice to get them right, but Leila was very sweet about my amateur efforts. Leila was ever so good - she showed me how to position the rolls to wear with hats (and how to pin the hats securely in place). And she took plenty of pictures of me with my lovely retro hair style.

Hat, Head Hunter Boutique (I think!); 1930s-40s peplum top, ebay; Check skirt, charity shop; Black tights with red backseam, ebay.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Countdown to a New Look!

Yikes, it's already the day of my hair session at Nina's Parlour and I'm completely unprepared! I have to work out three hair styles to learn (well two, since Victory Rolls is already accounted for). At this rate I'm just going to have to take a case of vintage magazines to browse on the train!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New and Coming Soon

The latest additions to my ebay shop and my brand new etsy shop - clockwise from top left: Buttercup 40s/50s sweetheart sweater; Turquoise 60s/70s scooter shirt dress; 1920s-30s silk velvet evening jacket; 1960s-70s wool gabardine asymmetrical dress; Vintage tartan golfing shorts; Primark purple paisley peplum tea dress.

Playsuit Project

I bought this mini shirtdress in Thailand just because I fell in love with the adorable birdy print. I had originally intended to list it in my shop, then thought I might keep it, then one of the buttons came off so it went in my sewing pile and lay forgotten... Until I saw Miss Emmi's tutorial for turning a dress into a playsuit! Hopefully it'll work, though it's a very short dress (in fact it's really meant to be worn as a long top over shorts, as is the fashion in Thailand).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The hat I didn't wear today

The sun was shining bright when I got up this morning - v exciting. I put on a short-sleeved dress to celebrate. I've amassed a small collection of cherry hats now. I've been dying for the chance to get them out, but today was not to be the day - it clouded over at lunchtime, and anyway it's freezing so I felt I'd look a bit silly in such a springy hat, and put it away.

I met with Joanna in town and went charity shop hopping. Bit of a disappointing result all round, until we got to Cats Protection and the nice lady - who remembers me as "the one who dresses retro" - had kept back a cute feather cocktail hat and a funny little sailor hat for me! So sweet.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Princess Pier, Torquay

Torquay pier, where Agatha Christie used to go rollerskating!

1940s dress from the car boot sale a few weeks ago (£20 bargain! There was a lady selling off a whole bunch of vintage dresses at £20 - afterwards of course I regretted not buying more to go in my shop)


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